Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Revisions, and Canonization
The latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project is a massive work, and I’m not just talking about its bulky physical dimensions. It is pregnant with possibilities for Mormon scholarship.
Robin Jensen is a member of the Church History Department staff and an editor of the recent JSP volume. While making transcriptions of Joseph Smith’s revelations Jensen has identified “Many additions, revisions, deletions, or other types of redactions were made by multiple people on the manuscript” between the time they were recorded, edited for publication, and updated as the needs of the Church grew.1 Jensen explains that many “simple minor changes” were made in addition to “significant changes made to the text…sometimes entire phrases were added.” For Jensen, this indicates the “non-static” nature of the revelations which were adapted to language and understanding of the recipients and the changing needs of the Church.2